RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

North Cascades Highway Tour Via BMW R1200 GS Adventure

As far as roads go, the North Cascades is one of the best in the United States. Its' scenic beauty is unmatched, save for Glacier Nat'l Parks "Road to the sky". Too bad they put a road in here. But..., since we paid for it, I might as well enjoy it. Enjoy it I did. Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend, we were promised some warm weather. 
 Sooo, I took my fair lady out for a spin in the mountains.
 She loved the views while I stopped and ate my lunch.
 The plan was to ride to the western town of Winthrop in the Methow valley, east of the mountains.
I never made it.
 The roadside beauty presented a problem. I found myself "rubbernecking" so I had to stop often to soak it all in.
 If there too much of a good thing... this may be one of those places.
 The road past the spires known as Liberty Bell is best enjoyed like a fine wine with cheeses.
 I made it only a few miles past the crest of the pass. I couldn't resist hanging out for a couple of hours to enjoy this country.

  I took a long restful breaks; hoping for sun, but settling, instead, for these views.
 I've no complaints.

The ride back was great. I met up with a couple of riders and we made good time out to Newhalem.
The Earth is ART and its beauty is there if one knows where to find it and takes the time to appreciate it.

Until next time... 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beaches, Volcanoes, Snow and Desert - BMW R1200 GS Oregon Adventure

"I'll Be Back"- The Terminator

The worst part of having too many hobbies is how to divide ones attention to them. A good weekend in the PacNw can cause quite a conundrum. Hike? Not yet, there is still too much snow in the mountains. Should I climb? I suppose so, I am in dire need of some conditioning in preparing for the summers adventures, but who wants to "post hole" and carry a pack. Kayak? Yes, another great choice... but then I'd have to load the boats, pick a place and then there is the motorcycle. Motorbike trip? Hmmm. it has been a very wet and cool winter. The mountain passes are just beginning to open up. I always want to tour the Oregon Coast on my bike, but the mountains... what to do? Oh yes, I can ride the Oregon Coast to Newport or Florence and cut over to central Oregon and enjoy some snow covered volcanoes. Yes, my friends, this was the plan. The weather called for overcast skies, but no rain. Maybe I'd get lucky and catch some sun. It was a wonderful 3 days of riding along the ocean through the mountains and out on the high desert and even some unexpected rain!!

I didn't take the most direct route to the Oregon coast. Rarely do I travel 4 lane blacktop. Instead I wound my way through Yelm, Tenino, Centrailia, Raymon, Illwaco and then to Astoria. From there I traveled through Seaside and spent my first night in Nehalem Bay State Park.
It was a bit on the chilly side and the winds off the ocean didn't help matters.

After I set up camp and had a bite to eat, I took off to have a look around. I toured the beach along Manzanita and got this shot.

The setting sun was just ripe for pictures.

Many residents were having a BBQ with wine and deck chairs all set up for the impending beauty.

I made my way up to Oswald West State Park. This is the view looking back toward Nehalem Bay.

My parking spot, where I would witness a spectacular show from Mother Nature.  BTW, one should read more about Oswald West and his contributions to Oregon history and the preservation of this fantastic coastline.

Before the actual sunset, I got a sneak peak of the opening act. 

More of Nehalem Bay.

Spectacular roadside construction.

Gretchen was enjoying the show as well.




The remnants of the show made for some profound thinking.

I sat there quietly in my church pew, enjoying the sermon, when a jet contrail appeared. Normally man's creations leave a blight on the land, but tonight it was like trim frosting on the cake. 

It began getting dark... I had a cigar, hot cocoa with Bailey's waiting for me at camp.

This was my view as I left Newport. This day, I toured down the coast. I must admit, I was surprised at the amount of traffic and development. I had not been south of Tillamook for 20 years. The going was slow and the remote magic that I remembered of the Oregon Coast was gone. Maybe my time up in the remote north has jaded me forever. I wanted to continue south, but time was ticking, I had a date with some volcanoes. 

Gretchen longing to ride south.

Hwy 20 up towards Santiam Pass.

I road through Corvallis, Albany, Lebanon, and Sweet Home before I finally pulled away from the traffic and lights and up into the mountains. It was a looong muggy ride through these towns. The only highlight of that stretch was a chance drive by of the Hewlett Packard Headquarters. I knew they were locate din Corvallis. It just so happens they are along HWY 20, next to Mary's River (A tributary of the Willamette River).

Santiam pass is beautiful. I took a side road and discovered Mt Washington.... In Oregon ????

Three Fingered Jack in the distance.

Close-up of Three Fingered Jack.  I wish I could come back and climb this peak. The Pacific Crest Trail passes near here.

A video of a "Grizzled Adventure Rider" at Santiam Pass
Warning - Exhaustion and middle age helmet hair. May not be suitable for all audiences.

Mt Washington from the hwy.

Too bad the sun wasn't shining :-(

My last picture of the trip. A salute to Adventure Touring. Currently, I have very few stickers on my panniers, but  this one, on the back of my Pannier, seems fitting. I spent the night in Sisters Oregon. A great little town. The next morning, I found my way through Redmond and over too Biggs Oregon along the Columbia River. I love the ride through this area of high desert along hwy 97. It is pretty lonely country and there are many small towns to pass through, like Kent, Wasco, Moro, etc... Many have the classic grain elevator and/or Water Tower. If you catch one of the residents as you ride through town, you are almost certain to catch a friendly wave.

While eating lunch in a restaurant in Biggs, I noticed 3 gentleman looking intently at my bike. They were pointing and such at certain places. Before long, they all took out there cell phone cameras and began taking pictures. I am certain, they were discussing and dreaming about having a bike like this or...

.... or they were admiring BMWs engineering work of art.

Oh yes, I will be back again someday. The area around Sisters, Oregon is too beautiful to stay away from.

Until next time....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Church in the Mountains - Sunday Hike to Snow Lake

My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.  ~Aldous Huxley
The weekend consisted of a fun day of kayaking in Burrows bay around Burrows Island and Allan Island. Allan Island is owned by Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen. We also stoppepd at an abondoned lighthouse on Burrows island and took a nice rest at a Watertrails camp on the island. Unfortunalty, no pictures were to be had that day as we left the camera behind. Which was too bad. The paddling and the views were fantastic.

Sunday, that was a different story, my buddy Steve and I found oursleves at the base of Snoqualmie peak contemplating whether if we could make it up above the falls to cave ridge and then traverse over and climb Guye peak. In the end, we assed that there was still too much snow and the effort would be more than the reward. We opted instead to hike to Snow Lake. It was an excellent choice. It was a warm day with summer-like heat and we found ourselves amoung 4 other snow lake bound hikers scrambling throught he snow up to the saddle. We had a great solitude experience. A rare treat for a lake that is usually so crowded during the summer months. 

Before we could get to the lake, we were going to have to earn it. Up, down and around gullies like this one filled with a snow melt falls was the norm for the day.

I believe this peak is "The famed Tooth'. The Tooth is a very popular peak in the Snoqualmie Pass area near Seattle. It is within close proximity to Seattle with an easy approach, and a fun moderate climb. The South Face route is a classic climbing route ~ 400 feet of blocky Andesite above Pineapple Pass. Like all peaks in the area, the summit views offers are excellent.

This is Snow Lake... aptly named, as it is still covered in snow.

More lake as it wraps around from the end of the Melakwa valley below Chair peak.

Steve, Kamiah (Golden Retreiver) and Lexus (Black Lab) all enjoying the tasty views.

A quick jaunt over to the next knoll revealed.... nothing... except more spectacular beauty and a view down the valley toward Source Lake (also buried in snow).

On the way out we found an old rotting tree and with our help, it fell pretty easy onto the snow.

All-in-all... a very good weekend. Two weekends of sun... it won't be long until the winter snow releases the mountains to us impatient hikers. 

Until Next time...